The Complete Guide to Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

These days, you can find just about anything on social media. From Tiger King memes and conspiracy theories to TikTok dancers and face-filtered news anchors, the content you find can make this marketing channel feel as lawless as the Wild West.

But if social media can even make an egg famous, that’s great news for your small business. And better than Insta-fame, is the potential to find, connect, and ultimately build relationships with your customers.

The purpose of this guide is to give you an overview of each of the popular social networks that small businesses are finding success on. We’ll cover how to set up your business page and what kinds of strategies work for each platform.

Does this mean you need to be on all of these? Definitely not! While you may want to claim your business on each platform for SEO purposes and to make sure other users don’t co-opt your name, the best way to make sure you see success without social media marketing burnout is to show up where your customers are and consistently post engaging content. It’s better to invest in a couple networks than to try to be everywhere.

Keep reading as we explain how you can use social media to promote your brand and how set up each of your social channels for success. Bonus! Tap any image in this guide to see how easy it is to start creating content for the platform.

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What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing simply describes the use of social channels to promote your business and its products or services. This form of digital marketing allows your brand to develop closer relationships with your customers, reach more members of your target audience, and even become a thought leader in your industry.

With nearly 4 billion social media users around the world, these platforms are your opportunity to find customers, stay in touch with current ones, and more efficiently advertise.

Set Yourself Up for Success: 5 Questions to Ask

Effective social media marketing doesn’t happen when you spin up just any post each week. Most companies pair their marketing with a complete social media strategy, which can help guide your decision-making and build a truly engaging brand.

Navigating this marketing channel with a great social strategy first requires you to answer these 5 questions:

  1. What are my business goals?
    This is your North Star and will help you make decisions, from what to post to where to invest.
  2. Who is my audience?
    Knowing your audience is essential and will help you determine where to post. For instance, if most of your customers are older than 65, Facebook will be the best network to reach them on.
  3. How will I know if I’m successful?
    The metrics you choose and the benchmarks you set for each will tell you if you’re hitting your goals or if it’s time to pivot.
  4. Who is my competition?
    Understanding what your competition is posting—including what works and doesn’t work—can uncover new opportunities to stand out.
  5. What social media platforms do I want to be on? Not sure where you should hang out the most? This social network guide will give you a snapshot of the top platforms and you’re most likely to find there.

Once you have these elements of your social media marketing strategy down, it’s time to start fleshing out your profiles and posting your ideal social media content.

Optimizing Your Brand Pages

Social media marketing: man typing on laptop

Odds are, you’re not jumping at the chance to buy something from a business with a blank profile. Just like you, your potential customers aren’t going to give you their trust right off the bat—even if you do have great content.

This is why your social media account setup is so important. In order to maximize the amount of people you attract, engage, and convert, your social media profiles must be built for it to happen.

If social media is largely uncharted territory for your brand, you’ll need to do a bit of construction work on your business pages before you invest in any social media advertising. And even if you’re already active on social media, a little refinement can help you best incorporate your updated social media marketing plan.

We’ll explain how you can set up your business pages for success on our top seven social media sites for 2020.

Facebook

Your Facebook page is perhaps the best starting point as you’re optimizing your presence across all social networks. This is because Facebook has the most comprehensive profile-building process, so by the end of your page setup, you should know exactly how you want to present your brand, with your social media strategy in mind.

If you haven’t already, create your Facebook business page through your own Facebook account, using your exact business name as the page name. In this process, you’ll be able to:

Then, you’ll immediately be able to choose a profile photo and a cover image. The best profile pictures are square, 170×170 pixel images that showcase your logo. You can also choose to use a simplified version of your logo, which should still include your identifiable brand colors and imagery—especially if your primary logo is text-heavy. Walmart offers a great example of this:

Social media marketing: Walmart Facebook

Your Facebook cover image displays at 820×312 pixels on desktop, but 640×360 pixels on smartphones, so make sure most of your content is well-centered. Your Facebook page cover should also give your target audience further insight into what your brand is all about, though this space is also a great place to promote specific marketing campaigns or events as you get your social media strategy moving.

You can use Adobe Spark’s Facebook cover templates to get inspired, then remix to make them your own. Pro-tip: set up your brand so you can apply your own fonts, logos, and colors in one tap.

Social media marketing: Bridal design

Further Optimization

The steps listed above are all you technically need to do to build your Facebook page. However, if you want Facebook users to find you and develop trust, you’ll also want to add a few other page elements on your “Home” and “About” sections.

Home

On the “Home” section of your Facebook page—the section every visitor will see—you’ll want to focus on adding two main elements: Your username and your call-to-action (CTA) button.

Your username plays a huge role in defining your brand. Not only can customers find you and message you using your username, but it becomes a permanent part of your URL. For example, holding the username @starbucks means the link to your profile will be facebook.com/Starbucks.

As a rule of thumb, the simpler your username, the better. If your company is called “Amazing Social Media Management Company,” you’ll want to use something simpler like @amazingsocial. We also recommend checking the availability of your preferred username on other social platforms before you finalize your choice, as this will keep your brand consistent and easy to find across all sites.

Tap the “Create @Username” link next to your profile photo to enter your desired username when you’re ready.

Social media marketing: Facebook business page

If your preferred username is taken, get as simple as possible—though if you own a trademark, you can submit a claim here to potentially get your top option.

Once you have a username, tap the “+ Add a Button” button to add a CTA that directs visitors to head to your website, email, phone number, or elsewhere—Facebook will give you a handful of options to choose from.

About

To update your “About” section, select “Edit Page Info” from your “Manage Page” menu on the left side of your desktop screen. Here, you can add your business address, service areas, hours of operations, and—we can’t stress this enough—your contact information. Make it easy for people to visit your website, call you, and email you by having this information readily available where they’ll be looking.

Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat

As we mentioned before, Facebook does have the most robust page setup process by far, so setting up your accounts on your remaining social media platforms should be a breeze. All five of these platforms have incredibly similar account setup and optimization processes that we can lump together.

Generally, you’ll simply need to:

  1. Download the app or head to the website.
  2. Create an account with your business email, phone number, and preferred password.
  3. Enter your business name as your display name.
  4. Select your username—optimally, the same one as your Facebook username.
  5. Head to your profile page to update your page with elements like your profile picture and bio. Keep these elements as consistent with your Facebook profile as possible.

Then, start following fellow small businesses, brand partners, related pages, and more to start building brand awareness on each site.

Here are two platform-specific tips we’ll add on to help you maximize your marketing efforts:

YouTube

Much like a Facebook page is tied to a Facebook account, your YouTube channel is directly tied to a Google account. Make sure to create a Google account if you haven’t already or, better yet, use the account you’re already using for work.

Then, log into YouTube, head to this page, and tap “Create a new channel.” You’ll simply be asked to add your brand name—your business name, not a username—here.

Once your channel is created, tap on your profile icon, select “Your Channel,” and tap “Customize Channel” to update your profile image and description. You can also add YouTube channel art—you can use our free templates to create it just as easily as your Facebook cover image.

Social media marketing: Splatter design

If you aren’t tired of us saying this already, we’ll repeat it again: Keep these elements as consistent as possible across all your social platforms.

You can further head to your “About” tab to enter your contact information and website, then start browsing through YouTube and following relevant channels (including those of other small businesses you know).

How To Leverage Each Platform

Now you’ve built out your social presence, you can start actively marketing—that is, sharing social content about your brand and using smart tactics to broaden your reach—with pages that are prepared to help you reach your social media goals.

Don’t worry—we’re not about to throw you into the Wild West without more tips. To help you make the most out of your social media presence, we’ve compiled a list of our top strategies, tactics, and types of content for each platform that you can add to your final social media plan. We’ll help you identify the platforms that can work for your target social media followers and help you incorporate them into your content calendar.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world, so prioritizing this platform for many businesses is a no-brainer.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

Ads and videos are two of the most impactful types of content on Facebook. Here’s how they can help you maximize your reach and engagement:

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads allow you to launch precisely targeted marketing campaigns on whatever budget you set—which is exactly what you want as a small business. This specific targeting can boost your ROI immensely and generate as many leads as possible.

When you’re ready to create a Facebook ad on Adobe Spark, keep this specific target audience in mind for your messaging, while still developing a visual that tells your story through your brand colors, font, and more. Pro-tip: set up your brand in Adobe Spark to apply your brand’s look and feel to any piece of creative.

Social media marketing: Beauty product template

https://spark.adobe.com/post/vz0Dg1wz8iLlY/?w=6200902359700

Social media marketing: SALE Template

https://spark.adobe.com/post/KBTkcfoqcIZGp/?w=6200898884890

Video content

Want a fact that may surprise you? Facebook video is actually beating YouTube at its own game.

Facebook video content—which is usually shorter-form and often built to play on with the sound off—is blowing up. Small businesses can greatly benefit from the massive engagement that it brings. If you’re not a video professional, use Adobe Spark’s one-tap animations to make short, motion graphic videos for Facebook or create slightly longer explainer videos that allow you to combine photos, video clips, or text with ease–no complicated editors here!Social media marketing: Aquarium Tour GIF

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/Sgi13v7zf9

How Often to Post

The best post frequency for Facebook is once per day—and definitely no more. As a small business, bumping your post count up to two per day can actually lead to a loss in followers.

If you don’t post once per day, it’s far better to go under, rather than over this guideline.

Bonus Tips

Instagram

You may have the beautiful imagery that Instagram demands, but the way you share it matters, too. We’ll explain when you should add this platform to your social media marketing strategy and how to do it.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

Two types of posts are standouts for engagement on Instagram: Stories and carousels.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories from brands have a massive 85% average completion rate, and when you share content on this Instagram feature, your post will fill up your viewer’s entire screen—perfect for your biggest news of the day. With Adobe Spark’s Instagram Story templates, you’ll have the perfect method to share highly engaging, well-designed content on this channel.

Social media marketing: Bedroom Template

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/t0vxOZuBf9

Social media marketing: Share positive mssage template

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/kAIIPXBBf9

Social media marketing: Announcement template

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/RIBGDaLBf9

See more Instagram Story templates!

Your brand can also use Stories to re-share user-generated content and encourage more users (even influencers) to share, too.

Carousel posts

Carousels, which are just Instagram feed posts with multiple images, can actually ramp up your engagement by up to 0.51%. This number may not seem like a lot, but in the world of engagement, this is huge.

Using Instagram carousels also gives you the chance to mix up on-brand images and engaging videos into a single post. Or hook scrollers with a compelling photo, then expand on your thought with a text graphic in the second or third slide. Using carousel posts means your content will show up in followers’ feeds more often! Check out an example of creative that could go in your carousel post:

Social media marketing: Beauty product template

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/ovgY08bBf9

How Often to Post

Just like on Facebook, one is the magic number on Instagram. Posting once per day on your general feed helps you limit follower losses, while keeping you at the top of consumers’ minds.

However, you can post far more on your Instagram Stories if you have more to share. Brands can maximize engagement by posting 10 (sometimes more) Stories per day.

Bonus Tips

Twitter

Twitter’s short-form content site is a great platform for building brand awareness without spending too much time or money on developing content.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

Unlike Instagram, Twitter doesn’t have an enormous amount of content categories. However, visual and interactive content are tried and true on this platform.

Visual content

Users may quickly scroll past your small, 280-character text posts, but when you use visuals, you’ll have thumb-stopping social content for users to engage with. In addition to being incredibly GIF-friendly, Twitter users also respond to eye-catching images and videos.

Social media marketing: Eco friendly design

https://adobesparkpost.app.link/u7yvHQ5Bf9

Interactive content

Content that’s built for your audience to interact, like Twitter polls and tweets with direct calls to action, are great for increasing engagement on the platform. Once you get your audience members to engage once, they’ll be more likely to remember your brand.

How Often to Post

Twitter feeds move fast. In order to captivate your customers, you should plan to tweet a minimum of three times per day, aiming for five to seven.

Bonus Tips

TikTok

TikTok is booming these days, and as it continues to expand, you have an opportunity to cash in on the platform’s success.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

Many businesses are still exploring what works on TikTok, so when you join the platform, you may need to do a bit of experimentation yourself. However, these two types of content are currently proven to work on the platform:

Influencer-based content

You may know Instagram as the platform that popularized influencer marketing, but partnering with well-known creators may be more important on TikTok than anywhere else. Gen Z loves influencers. They trust influencers even more than millennials do—and any other generation, for that matter—with 22% making purchases just based on their recommendations.

Work with influencers who fit your brand mission and personality to push your branded hashtag and create highly engaging content for their audience. This is a great way to instantly build trust for your lesser-known small business.

How Often to Post

Many successful TikTok users are posting at least once per day, usually up to three times per day.

There’s no consensus yet on TikTok posting frequency among marketers, but this is a great starting point for you to work with.

Bonus Tips

Pinterest

Pinterest is the go-to social media network for users to find inspiration. Here, users are open to tapping on links to your products and the content marketing you share on your blog—as long as you can get eyes on your posts (known as “pins”) on the site’s fast-moving feeds.

If you don’t want your Pinterest efforts to turn into total Pinterest fails, take a look at our tips.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

On Pinterest, the content of your boards and descriptions are just as important as your pins.

Diverse boards

When creating your boards, which are the albums that hold your pins within specific categories, choose specific subjects that your audience might be interested in following. Make sure to use our Pinterest templates and Brandify feature to create the perfect vertical images to pin onto these boards.

Of course, no one wants to follow blatant advertising. Also consider re-pinning content from other users and fellow small businesses that align with your brand (and preferably, the general look and feel of your boards). This will make your boards more interesting and help you engage with more users on the social media network.

Keyword-rich descriptions

Pinterest is one of the best platforms for boosting your brand’s presence on search engines. Each of your pins are searchable and indexed by Google, so using relevant keywords will help your social media SEO improve and even reach non-social media users, too.

Social media marketing: Food templates

https://www.adobe.com/express/create/pinterest-pin

How Often to Post

If you have plenty of visuals and content to share, you’ll do great on Pinterest. Posting as many as 10 times per day can help you build your engagement and following, without any negative side effects. Some sources even say up to 30 pins works well.

Since Pinterest has a ton of content that moves just as fast as Twitter, posting at least four or five times per day is ideal.

Bonus Tips

See more Pinterest strategies for boosting traffic and sales!

Snapchat

Pinterest may demand beautifully curated boards, but Snapchat is all about letting loose and showing a less refined side of your brand. Have fun, use silly filters, and be a little less Pinterest-perfect, while still keeping the following social media tips in mind.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

When you’re using Snapchat, ads and sales promotions actually work better than you may expect.

Snapchat ads

Currently, only 8% of marketers are using ads on Snapchat. While you may think of this as a warning sign, this can actually be a huge opportunity for you. By being where your audience is but your competition is not, you have a better chance to stand out. Plus, Snapchat ads start at just $5 per day, so it’s flexible for your small business budget.

Sales promotions

Just like Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories allow you to share content for just 24 hours before it disappears. This has made Snapchat a popular place for customers to follow brands for flash sales and exclusive discounts.

Keep in mind that your content still needs to be engaging to work.

How Often to Post

When Snapchat is a part of your social media marketing strategy, you’ll want to post at least once per day (up to four or five is fine). Since content disappears, this is the best way to stay in users’ minds without bombarding them.

Bonus Tips

YouTube

Video—the type of content you’re sharing on YouTube—is already engaging, but to get users to click play in the first place, you can consider the following tips.

Invest in This Platform If:

Content That Works

Collaborations and eye-catching thumbnails are the name of the game on YouTube. Learn more about how to add these types of content to your strategy:

Collaborations with businesses

YouTube videos can be shared everywhere, which means you don’t have to blow your social media marketing budget on paid influencer promotions to succeed on this platform. When you partner with other small businesses in your area, or even invite business leaders to get featured in your videos, they can share your video with their audience on their website, on other social channels, and beyond, raising your view count each time.

Just make sure to include a call to action at the end of your videos, so viewers know what to do after watching.

Eye-catching thumbnails

While clickbait titles are definitely controversial, eye-catching thumbnails just work. Use Adobe Spark’s YouTube thumbnail templates to start developing high-quality graphics that give your channel a unique, recognizable look while reeling them into your videos. As brand recognition builds, you’ll gain more traction and subscribers to your channel.

Social media marketing: Workout template

https://www.adobe.com/express/discover/templates/banner/youtube

How Often to Post

Posting once per week is standard among most YouTube channels. This is the frequency that many subscribers expect. Following this standard will ensure you don’t lose subscribers due to inactivity, and that they don’t get bored of your content after watching it too much.

Bonus Tips